The 2003 schedule at Shakespeare's Globe - titled the "Season of Regime Change" - gets officially under way tonight (14 May 2003, previews from 8 May) with the opening of Richard II, featuring artistic director Mark Rylance in the title role. The transition theme is explored in all five of the summer season's productions - two all-male, two all-female and one mixed-gender - performed in repertory through to 28 September.

Richard II comes to the Globe following a sell-out pre-season run, marking the quatercentenary of Queen Elizabeth I, at London's historic Middle Temple Hall. It's directed by Tim Carroll and performed by the Globe's all-male "White" company, featuring Liam Brennan (as Henry Bolingbroke), Michael Brown (Queen Isabel) and Albie Woodington (Northumberland). Also performed by the Whites is by Edward II, directed by Timothy Walker and starring Brennan in the lead, which joins the repertory from 20 July to 26 September.

The all-female "Red" company mounts Richard III, running 25 May to 27 September 2003 and directed by Barry Kyle, with Kathryn Hunter playing the monarch and Linda Bassett as Queen Margaret. The Reds, under Kyle's direction, also take on The Taming of the Shrew, from 10 August to 28 September 2003, with Hunter as Kate and Janet McTeer as Petruchio.

The six-strong, mixed-sex Rose company tackles Christopher Marlowe's rarely performed Dido, Queen of Carthage, based on Viril's Aeneid. Will Keen plays the adventurer Aeneas who, at the contrivance of the goddess Venus (Clare Swinburne), begins a passionate romance with the African queen Dido (Rakie Ayola). Directed by Tim Carroll, the Rose production runs from 6 June to 18 August 2003.

All four single-sex offerings are original practices productions - in other words, exploring the clothing, music, dance and settings that would have been possible at the original Globe in 1603. Dido, Queen of Carthage will, on the other hand, employ the modern practices of 2003.

- by Terri Paddock